Live Review: Karnivool, Sugar Army

29 April 2016 | 1:52 pm | Frankie Mann

"Smiling, it was clear the band loved how passionate people were about their music, something not all Perth bands get to experience."

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Perth's newest live music venue, Badlands Bar, was packed to capacity for the first night of Karnivool's string of sold out shows.

Perth rock band Sugar Army kicked off the night, with dream-like vocals and a buzzing bass line enticing the crowd out of the shadows. A slow start saw the three-piece lacking in oomph, playing songs as if they'd been rehearsed to perfection. Showcasing tracks from their upcoming album, Beast, it was clear the crowd had arrived early to hear their older songs, with the sound of people talking at times overtaking singer Patrick McLaughlin's gentle vocals. The boys seemed to enjoy playing their older tracks as much as the crowd loved hearing them, with the venue lighting up as Sugar Army ripped through Tongues In Cheeks and Acute. Airy melodies juxtaposed an aggressive beat, with voice creating an otherworldly sound.

Well before Karnivool were due on stage every free space in Badlands was occupied. The crowd swelled as the lights went down, only for it to be a false alarm, leaving everyone anxiously holding their breaths. Karnivool kicked off with Simple Boy, the bass line so thick and heavy you could feel it pounding in your chest. Singer Ian Kenny commanded and controlled the audience like a conductor, letting them know when to slow down and when to go crazy. His dance moves in between musical breaks were questionable, reminiscent of Drake's dodgy dancing in Hotline Bling. Despite this, Kenny's voice captivated the audience, sounding angelic and beautiful when backed by crashing cymbals and distorted guitars.

New songs like Aozora showed potential, but all anyone wanted to hear were Karnivool's classics, with the crowd chanting the lyrics to Roquefort in between songs. Cote and Themata nearly tore the roof down, the venue exploding with energy as the crowd jumped along. Smiling, it was clear the band loved how passionate people were about their music, something not all Perth bands get to experience. As the band rapidly changed tempos during Umbra, Kenny looked physically and emotionally exhausted — not surprising considering how much heart and soul he poured out into every word he sang. Karnivool didn't disappoint, mesmerising the crowd from the get-go, their tight and precise performance setting high expectations for the rest of their tour and their upcoming album.

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